5 Elements of a Gambling Addiction

A huge majority of the population will gamble at least once in their life, a perfectly normal occurrence. Gambling can be a fun way to spend an evening; lose a few bucks here, win a few bucks there. You may even be lucky enough win a large amount of money. Even though there are several people out there who gamble carelessly for the fun of it, there is a small percentage of people that will start to form an unhealthy habit of gambling that could in fact lead to a terrible gambling addiction.If you suspect that somebody you know is suffering from a gambling addiction, a sure sign of this would be if that person is exhibiting one or more of these signs:The first and foremost way to spot a gambling addiction is if a person is constantly fixated on any form of gambling; be it poker, horse races, football or any other activity that presents an opportunity to gamble. If you suspect a person is suffering from a gambling addiction then he or she will always be thinking about it constantly. That person will always want to gamble and even plan out the next trip long before it happens. A lot of addiction specialists will refer to this fixation as “preoccupation.”If a person is always in pursuit of winning back lost money, then he or she may be suffering from a gambling addiction. This habit can cause some major financial problems because in the attempt to win back previously lost money, a person may end up actually losing double, triple or even quadruple what he or she lost in the first place. Whatever you do, if you know someone who is always attempting to win back lost money, he or she may be doing horrible financially and may end up trying to borrow money from you; Do not give it to them!A person who may be suffering from a gambling addiction will usually attempt to stop gambling on several different occasions. If you know a person that has tried to stop gambling on more than one occasion but ended up going right back to it, then that person most likely has a gambling addiction. Gambling addicts will usually exhibit the same behavior as controlled substance and narcotic addicts when they try to stop; behaviors such as irritability, anger and even insomnia.If a person you know has just been through something traumatic and has been gambling a lot ever since, then that person is most likely using gambling as a substitute to cope with said traumatic experience. A lot of gamblers will experience a euphoria similar to a “high” that lets that person escape from something in their lives and feel good. A bad side effect of feeling “high” when gambling is that to sustain the high, larger and larger amounts of money must be bet.Finally, probably one of the easiest signs to spot not only a gambling addiction, but any addiction, is lying. Gambling addicts will often lie when asked how much money they have spent, lost or won so that their true losses do not show and they can gamble feeling a little less guilty. However, some gamblers do actually feel guilty with every lie told which can actually cause that person to gamble more to cope with the emotional guilt.An addiction, no matter what it is from, will always prove to be an unhealthy aspect of a person’s life. This is why it is important to step in and intervene before an addiction gets to strong a grasp on family, friend or loved one. If you suspect someone you know is suffering from a gambling addiction, start by looking for the five signs listed above.

Compulsive Gambling-Wanna Bet?

“What time is it? I lost track. I have tome for one more—bet, that is. It will surely be the turning point; one that will get my special streak back on track. It always come back.; just not sure what’s taking so long this time. I must be doing something wrong or maybe I did something wrong and it’s my punishment. Maybe someone at the table is emitting bad vibes. You know luck works in mysterious ways.Oh-right—what time is it now? Oh no! I’m really late—again. I don’t think I can show up for work now, at this hour. They’ll be upset with me for not coming to work, but I’ll figure something out. For that matter, my wife isn’t going to be too happy with me either-especially after not coming home all night. She’s already given me the benefit of the doubt to get myself under control. I could lose another job and that will mean big trouble covering my losses. My 401K is gone and so are the college funds for my son and daughter. But, I still have time to win it all back. I can most likely double or triple my stake-right? After all, the kids are just in high school. Oh, yeah, I’ll have to pick up a cheap, fake wedding ring before I go home as well.I get these headaches. My insomnia really gets the best of me. I have to get my belly pain checked out soon. I think I’ve lost more weight. When I see myself in the mirror, I look terrible. I don’t enjoy much of anything anymore; On the other hand, that’s not necessarily true because when they approved cyber sports betting, I was elated! I feel guilty for a lot of this, but I can’t seem to stop. Maybe I have a problem, but it’s the only thing that excites me and when I win it makes it all good. I know that I’m the “lucky one” down deep. It will all be OK and then we’ll be on “Easy Street” and they’ll all thank me. Why’s the Sheriff talking to me with papers in his hand; are they for me? I wish my father was still around. I wish anybody was still around.”Compulsive gambling is an addiction like many others. There’s tolerance, withdrawal and awareness that these are harmful behaviors, but I do them anyway.The Science of GamblingThere have been years of research about gambling. It turns out there are many facets of gambling that are synonymous with drug addiction from a neuroscience perspective. Researchers have demonstrated brain changes as addiction develops. Specifically, in the middle of the cranium are a series of circuits known as the reward system that connects other regions of the brain that impact memory, movement, pleasure and motivation. According to the research, as a result of engaging in “activities that keeps us alive or helps us pass on our genes, neurons in the reward system squirt out a chemical called dopamine, giving us a little wave of satisfaction and encouraging us to make a habit of enjoying hearty meals and romps in the sack. When stimulated by amphetamine, cocaine or other addictive drugs, the reward system disperses up to 10 times more dopamine than usual… ” [Scientific American; Brain and Behavior; How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling]. Over time, the dopamine bath that the brain receives creates less sensitivity to drugs and more is required to produce the satisfaction derived from it. Just as a person addicted to drugs experiences this effect (tolerance), so does a person addicted to gambling. It has been demonstrated that as a result of the influx of the chemical dopamine, it can induce one to make more rash decisions and take more risks because risks and rewards are “more appealing.” As a matter of fact, based on studies of brain flow activities in the brains of people with substance use disorder and those with compulsive gambling, it appears that the same brain circuits are altered in many ways. This compulsivity robs people of their lives, their family, their jobs, and themselves!Treatment The research into compulsive gambling regarding genetics and neuroscience resulted in the American Psychiatric Association moving pathological gambling to the addiction’s chapter in the latest addition of the DSM-5. This has changed how psychiatrists approach treatment for compulsive gambling.There is no cure for gambling; no endpoint at which one is declared cured. The most important objective is to break its grasp, regardless of whether you are a “sometimes” gambler or you are compulsive. Therapeutic models include intensive individual treatment to specific group therapies. As in many disorders, one size does not fit all. Among the therapies is: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in which one learns to identify the thought processes that have created the compulsive conduct, and how to better manage their impact. Psychotherapy helps to deal with gambling triggers through individual or group sessions. Family Therapy can play an important role in compulsive gambling as families are often embroiled in the lifestyle and consequences of the addiction that their loved one suffers from. Setting limits on access to gambling opportunities is also important; especially in a time where it is more accessible than ever. There are also Residential Gambling Treatment Centers that may be a great choice for one’s journey to recovery.Most important, is that treatment is guided through a sensitive, patient professional who is well experienced and current in their knowledge about what the research has shown us.Don’t suffer alone…